I had a full career as an able-bodied actor for over 20 years, performing in everything from classics to musicals, and TV shows including Prisoner, Blue Heelers, Big River, Pygmalion, Buddy and Hotel Sorrento. I also worked as the main promotional voice-over artist for the ABC in Melbourne and have directed festivals for Melbourne Fringe, the Brisbane Festival and Opera Plus.
Then my life took an unexpected turn when I was diagnosed with HSP, eventually becoming a wheelchair user in 2006. It took time to adjust … years in fact. To grieve and adjust to my new identity and the personal losses it brought. I went through a separation that ended badly, friends left, the profession averted its gaze.
The hardest thing was suddenly being seen as incapable, sometimes by colleagues I had worked with for years. That hurt. But eventually I realised that I had a right to work in my profession. I began working back in mainstream theatre and television in 2016.
These days my passion for disability issues comes first in my life. I advocate for disabled performers on the Board of Arts Access Victoria and as Deputy Chair of Actors Equity’s Diversity Committee. I recently formed the disability-led theatre company Raspberry Ripple with the first production ‘Enunciations’ in 2016.